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Battle for Tikrit rages on

Skirmishes broke out Tuesday between Iraqi security forces and militants on the outskirts of Tikrit, a local official and a resident said, a day after the Iraqi and Kurdish troops backed by U.S. airstrikes dislodged Islamic militants from a strategic dam in the country’s north. The Iraqi military launched an operation in late June to try to wrest back control of Tikrit, but that quickly stalled after making little headway. Sporadic clashes have been reported around the city and surrounding areas since then, but efforts by Iraqi government forces and allied Sunni tribal militiamen have failed to push out the militants. 

Tikrit is currently in the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria after defeating the Iraqi army and government allied forces in a 4 day battle for the city from June 26-30 of this year. Since the U.S. launched airstrikes on ISIS targets, it has given help to both Iraqi and Kurdish forces to regain land that ISIS took over within Iraq. Efforts by the Iraqi government were made back in late June to regain the city, but political issues and clashes in areas under government control took effect which had halted the operation from being successful.

The tomb of dictator Saddam Hussein was damaged in fighting between security forces and the radical group earlier in the month, but the tomb was moved in secret to avoid any further damage in the conflict. Tikrit is also in the control of Baathist’s who are led by those who had ties to Saddam Hussein. Although it is the hometown of Saddam, he is actually from the village of Al-Awja where he was buried as well. The battle for the city will likely drag on for weeks unless the U.S. has ideas about launching airstrikes to help assist government and Kurdish forces regain the town. But no plan has been reported over what the U.S. may do regarding recent clashes in Tikrit.

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